What Is Team Management: Strategies, Duties, Job, Career Outlook

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Learn team management skills and duties of a team manager. Find out more about team management jobs and how to work in this profession.

[Featured image] A team management group discussing the latest strategies for the company.

Team management focuses on motivating a group of employees to work toward a common goal. Differing styles of team management achieve goals in different ways. It’s the duty of team managers to support the needs of team members in a way that’s helpful, positive, and motivating.

Jobs in team management range from general managers to c-suite level positions. Managing a team is a useful skill that many business professionals use on a regular basis, and an in-demand skill in managerial careers across industries. 

What is team management?

Team management refers to actions, strategies, or methods that brings a group of people together to work effectively as a team and achieve a common goal. There are many tasks that require multiple people, so teams are an essential building block to productivity. Companies rely on teams and effective team management to maintain its operations. 

Pitfalls like ineffective communication or lack of effort by a team member can derail a team’s progress. Team management helps incorporate checkpoints for teams to successfully start. It also helps maintain a good working relationship and momentum throughout the team’s life until the goal is met. 

Team management vs. team leadership

Team management and team leadership have some similarities, but there are also major differences. Both approaches work toward a common goal, team management controls the team to accomplish the goal while team leadership motivates and influences the team to accomplish goals. 

Team leaders may not necessarily have the manager title but their responsibility is to focus on the company vision and how to inspire team members to create and execute that vision. Goals are still a part of team leadership, but in a more “big picture” way. Team management can be more granular, focused on completion of tasks and organizing the group in the most efficient and productive way. 

Why is team management important?

Working with others can be tricky. Team management helps groups of employees work better together by setting common goals and offering support and strategies to reach goals. Managers may delegate tasks to group members, set mini check points, and more to keep the team on track and moving forward. Team management tactics also provide a mediator if team members come into conflict or need an outside opinion. Some other advantages to team management include:

  • Fosters and promotes learning

  • Increases productivity

  • Helps to reduce staff turnover

  • Promotes successful teamwork

  • Increases employee satisfaction

Types of team management styles

Individuals who manage teams naturally have varying management styles. Factors that may impact which type of team management style used include:

  • A person’s temperament 

  • Character traits

  • The needs of the individuals on the team 

  • The volume of work that needs to be completed

Team management styles can be changed to better align with project goals or based on the team of people you’re managing. Each style has both advantages and disadvantages depending on how it’s used, consider the following styles and determine which one fits your needs: 

1. Persuasive

In persuasive management, you’ll typically be the expert of the subject matter you’re leading in. You’ll persuade your team that your objectives and ideas are good and that their work is important. This style can also be helpful if you’re managing upwards, where you’ll provide profesional thoughts and opinions to more senior colleagues. 

When to use it: Managers use this style to make quick decisions, increase productivity, and be transparent in their decision-making process. 

What to be mindful of: There may be situations that lack participation and agreement which could create a stalemate.  

2. Consultative

As the name suggests, managers consult with team members and use their skills to seek solutions, create plans, and make decisions. This management style focuses on team building where employees participate more in the decision making process. With consultative team management style employees feel valued and respected. 

When to use it: Employees may find it easier to accept decisions that they disagree with if they were consulted first.

What to be mindful of: There may be a personality mismatch if the team doesn’t work well together. 

3. Collaborative

In collaborative management, it aims to bring executives, managers, and staff to work and take responsibility together. This style can spark personal and professional fulfillment making it more common for great work to be produced regularly . It’s also typical for information to be shared organically and there be open communication between team members of all levels. This style is most prevelant in nonprofits. 

When to use it: Decision making is a collaborative effort, which boosts employees' appreciation and loyalty. 

What to be mindful of: Using this style too often can create challenges, such as lack of leadership, direction, and inability to make decisions as a group.  

4. Democratic or participative 

Managers using a democratic style of management include employees in the decision making process by listening to ideas, noting suggestions, and spending time going through ideas together. Managers listen to employees and integrate their ideas with their own. 

When to use it: This style is most effective for long-term decisions that impact the overall company. 

What to be mindful of:  With this style there may be inefficiency, lack of structure, and decision making may take longer when more ideas are formed. 

5. Authoritative

Managers who know what they want and have a clear and focused vision may rely on authoritative management tactics. In this style, managers solely make the decisions that everyone must follow. 

When to use it: This style is efficient when there may be a crisis and when decisions need ot be made quickly.  Managers may use authoritative management to set clear expectations.  

What to be mindful of: Some employees may experience feelings of micromanagement and lack of control. 

6. Transformational

Transformation leadership is driven by motivation, encouragement, and innovation. Managers will typically encourage employees to reach and set goals that may be out of their comfort zone. Employees are also included in decision making, creating an open and democratic workplace environment. Transformation managers can often be found in the technology industry. 

When to use it: Transformational management strategies encourage creativity, a more positive working environment, and a strong threshold for adaptability and change. 

What to be mindful of: Transformational management can lead to employee burnout and lack of clear focus because of the constant changes.

7. Laissez-faire

Laissez-faire is a hands-off management style where managers are similar to mentors than leaders. Managers communicate expectations, goals, and more, and then leave the team to accomplish those objectives without daily guidance. Managers are still present, and available for questions and guidance, but the daily decision making is with employees. 

When to use it: Employees may enjoy this style of management if they dislike micromanagement. It can also create a creative and autonomous work environment. 

What to be mindful of: With a hands-off approach, employees may feel neglected and a lack of guidance. 

What does a management team do?

A management team creates guidelines, goals, checkpoints, and objectives for employees to improve productivity while also providing support and motivation. The goal is to: manage people and manage processes. As a team manager you’ll recognize employee needs, incorporate clear guidelines, and set timelines. Management teams help balance needs while moving toward a common goal. Some specific tasks of a management team may include:

  • Establishing team objectives or goals

  • Overseeing, training, or advising team members 

  • Mediating interpersonal conflicts

  • Motivating and inspiring team members

  • Helping employees grow 

  • Hiring/ firing

  • Effectively communicating

  • Remote team management

  • Effectively implementing technologies

Read more: What Is Management? Definitions, Skills, and Careers

Key skills for team management

Team management requires a certain skill set that involves a mix of technical and personal skills. Effectively managing a group of people requires adaptability, flexibility, and excellent communication skills as you work with varying types of people and groups. Group dynamics can also affect your ability to manage a team. Expect to shift and change your management style based on the teams you manage, and your company’s objectives and goals. 

 

  • Technical skills

  • Project management software

  • Data analysis 

  • Industry specific knowledge 

  • Marketing 

  • Product development 

Read more: 11 Key Project Management Skills

  • Workplace skills

  • Constructive criticism 

  • Leadership 

  • Decision making 

  • Problem solving 

  • Delegation 

  • Organization 

  • Emotional intelligence 

Read more: What Are Job Skills and Why Do They Matter? 

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Job in team management

Team management is a skill required in most management and supervisory administrative roles. From managers to chief executives, these positions use team management skills on a daily basis. Depending on the industry and specific job title, you may be managing just a few people or an entire company. Here are five roles that require team management skills. 

1. Chief level executive positions 

Chief executives average annual salary (US): $179,520 [1]

Chief executive officer (CEO) average annual salary (US): $402,789 [2]

Keep in mind that CEOs are the top managers and typically have a higher earning potential compared to other C-suite level positions. Chief level executive positions are all of the C-suite level positions within a company; positions include: 

  • Chief executive officer (CEO)

  • Chief administrative officer (CAO)

  • Chief financial officer (CFO)

  • Chief information officer (CIO)

  • Chief marketing officer (CMO)

  • Chief operating officer (COO)

  • Chief risk officer (CRO)

  • Chief technology officer (CTO)

Individuals in these roles are a company’s key decision makers for a company and the highest level of management. They are responsible for planning and implementing policies and procedures. 

2. Managers 

Average annual salary (US): $127,490 [3]

Managers work in varying levels within a company, from lower level to senior level management positions. Individuals in management roles may manage a small group of employees or a large division. Some companies divide managers by location, such as regional or area managers. Common manager duties include:

  • Managing employee performance against company goals

  • Reporting to other managers

  • Implementing policies and procedures set by executive decision makers

  • Developing employee training standards

Read more: What Is a Business Management Degree and What Can You Do With One?

3. Supervisors 

Average annual salary (US): $63,380 [4] 

Supervisors manage daily operations, typically a team or department, and will report to upper-level managers. Supervisory roles are usually middle management jobs that work with both higher management and employees. Rather than developing strategies, supervisors manage employees’ projects and tasks. 

You can find supervisors working in many different industries with variations in roles and responsibilities.

4. Coordinators

Average annual salary (US): $56,596 [5]

Coordinator jobs may have varying titles such as project coordinator, marketing coordinator, or product coordinator, but the core skills for these jobs is bringing teams together to work toward a specific goal or objective.  Good coordinators have the ability to see the big picture while working through smaller tasks. 

5. Team lead

Average annual salary (US):$63,848 [6]

Team leads typically work under managers, and as an assistant to a manager or supervisor. The day-to-day duties of a team lead will differ by company size and industry, but some common responsibilities for this role will likely include monitoring employee performance, reporting to management, implementing procedures, and motivating employees. 

How to move into a team manager role?

Building core management skills is a great start to move into a team manager role. Through real-world experience, formal training, online courses, or certifications, focus on gaining key management skills that you can use in various business settings. If you know the type of business you’d like to work in, research job descriptions and job postings from specific employers and industries. These descriptions can provide a skills and qualifications roadmap to your ideal career in team management. 

Enhance your team management skills.

Personal skills are sometimes best learned through real-world experiences. Learning from coworkers in management positions is an effective way to develop your management abilities. You may find a mentor or someone whose style of management you admire. Ask that person to provide some tips. 

Some companies may also offer their own formal on-the-job training programs for anyone who’s interested in management positions. Take advantage of this opportunity if your workplace offers such training. Starting out in a company sponsored leadership training program has many advantages.

Consider professional certifications.

Many professional organizations offer management-based certifications, some specialized to a certain industry and some more generalized. For example, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is a well-respected option that teaches technical and personal management skills. Certifications based on project management principles can train you in how to manage people and processes, which are key for team management.

Professional certificates are another way to increase your employability and build your skills. On Coursera, there are hundreds of online certificates from around the world. For team managers, a certificate course such as Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age or Managing an Agile Team would provide beneficial management training employers seek. 

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Earn a degree.

For potential team managers, employers typically require a bachelor’s degree. According to Zippia, 63 percent of team managers have a bachelor’s degree, and 15 percent have an associate [7]. It’s recommended to have a business degree, like a bachelor of business administration in management. 

Earning a degree in management or a related field can also benefit your future career goals in team management roles. Expect to learn skills like management strategies, motivation tactics, staffing and training, legal and ethical standards, and cultural diversity. 

Consider management training sessions. 

Your company may provide management training sessions on topics that would benefit you as a future team leader. Take advantage and try to attend when you can. Local colleges or professional organizations sometimes also offer training courses, seminars, conferences, or online content like webinars on conflict resolution, effective communication, and team-building strategies. These training sessions may also provide great networking opportunities.

Create a resume.

A management resume helps demonstrate your management capabilities from the start of your career to the present. Make sure all your listed skills are management based and in its own section. All qualifications should demonstrate your competency in management, which means listing only relevant qualifications. Choose experiences, skills, and qualifications that highlight your ability to lead and motivate others. It’s also helpful to use action verbs to demonstrate your capabilities and achievements. 

Read more: Resume Keywords: How to Find the Right Words to Beat the ATS

Get started with Coursera

Enrolling in an online course in team management on Coursera is an excellent way to start your journey as a team manager. If you’re a beginner, an online specialization course like Leading People and Teams can build foundational skills at your own pace. Organizational Leadership is a specialization course targeted for more advanced professionals who may want to explore topics like crisis management or design leadership skills.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Read more: Management Concepts Every Aspiring Manager Should Know (2022)

Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021: Chief Executives,” https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes111011.htm". Accessed October 20, 2022.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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